Use of preferential rent to support the start of new initiatives, promote the temporary use of unoccupied spaces and let occupants of spaces refurbish the space.
Underused buildings | Activating Envisioning Experimenting
Source: photos François Jégou, Strategic Design Scenarios
Source: photos François Jégou, Strategic Design Scenarios
Keywords: Temporary use | Urban Renewal | Local Economic Development | Strategic Planning | Community Art


In 2014, the City of Poznan established a particular municipal scheme to facilitate and encourage initiatives to occupy vacant spaces at the same time as refurbishing them: a preferential rate scheme. The scheme aims to support the start of the activity with a strong incentive to reach the capacity to pay a full rent after 3 years. 

When benefitting from the scheme, projects beneficiaries agree to renovate the place at their own costs. The average quality of the spaces proposed is rather low and their refurbishment is left to the renter with no insurance that their investment will not be spoiled when the owner will suddenly reclaim the space.   


Activating: initiating process

The scheme is based on a reduction and gradual increase of a rent for the first 3 years of activities. The financial facilitations can be extended when the scope of the initiative meets social concerns in the local area.

As an example, the Pix'House’s gallery started renting a street level space in the Lazarz district. It benefited for 2 years of preferential renting and has now one year to reach enough business profitability in order to be able to pay the full rent and stay in the space.


Experimenting: developing step-by-step process

Projects apply to the City administration for renting spaces within a given list identified by the administration. They need to present a clear approach for their project, the way it would benefit the city and the neighbourhood (socially, culturally) and the way it seeks to refurbish it.

The projects should also present their business models and the way they will evolve with the given preferential rent.


The scheme providing an incentive facilitating the start of initiatives based on a reduction and gradual increase of a rent in the first 3 years.

The scheme forces the initiative renting the vacant space to find profitability in a short period of time especially for cultural and social projects.

The preferential renting instrument is not part of the broader management structure of the municipality. It still lacks from an integrated strategic approach at city level.

The scheme is too recent to be able to assess the effects of the instruments so far.


City information

Population size: 501 th - 1 m
Population development dynamics within the city administrative limits (at the time of the project): Growing
Population development dynamics of the functional urban area (at the time of the project): Growing
Website of the city:

Project information

Project territorial scale: Municipality (city/town/suburb)
Project geographical area: City centre
Project/building proportions: 101-500 sqm; Project Area: Over 10 ha
Project main actors: City Government; Local (district) Government; Cultural, creative organisation, non-commercial private sector
Project dominant property ownership: Mixed
Project development stage (at the time of description): Half way
Project duration: 2 to 5 years
Project starting date: 2015-2018

Project references (web pages, social media or press publications)

Factsheet p 34 in REFILL final publication

Contact Person

e-mail address of Natalia Madajczyk, Poznan city administration,